Internet disrupted in West Africa

Disruptions in Benin, Togo, Niger and Nigeria follow damage to crucial undersea cable.

    Source: J P Lon [Creative Commons]

    Crucial link

    Lanre Ajayi, the president of the Nigeria Internet Group, told Nigeria's Business Day newspaper, that the cable was "a critical national resource because of its importance to the economy and to security".

    According to Rebekah Heacock, a blogger on OpenNet Initiative which monitors internet filtering and surveillance, internet access in Nigeria had been further complicated by the failure of Nigerian telecommunications operator Nitel to pay its dues to the SAT-3 Consortium, which has disconnected the Nigerian end of the cable.

    Heacock said internet users in Benin, Togo and Niger were forced to rely on rare, expensive satellite connections to get online.

    When a damaged undersea cable disrupted services in the Middle East and South Asia in January 2008, operators were able to reroute service and continue to provide access.

    However, in West Africa, rerouting is more difficult as the SAT-3 is the only cable connecting the region to the rest of the world.

    Internet penetration in the affected countries is low. Nigeria has the highest rate with 7.3 per cent coverage and Niger the lowest with just 0.5 per cent.

    The SAT-3 communications cable links Portugal and Spain to South Africa via the West African coastline.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.